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Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) is the United States Army's primary system to post data, process information, and disseminate Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) information about the threat, weather, and terrain to echelons. DCGS-A provides commanders the ability to task battle-space sensors and receive intelligence information from multiple sources.


An August 17, 2011, UPI article quoted i2 Chief Executive Officer Robert Griffin who commented on DCGS-A's best-of-breed approach to development. The article detailed the Army contracting with i2 for Analyst's Notebook software. "With its open architecture, Analyst's Notebook supports the Army's strategy to employ and integrate best-of-breed solutions from across the industry to meet the dynamic needs users face in the field on a daily basis."[1]

A February 1, 2012, article in the Army web page quoted Mark Kitz, DCGS-A technical director. DCGS-A "uses the latest in cloud technology to rapidly gather, collaborate and share intelligence data from multiple sources to deliver a common operating picture. DCGS-A is able to rapidly adapt to changing operational environments by leveraging an iterative development model and open architecture allowing for collaboration with multiple government, industry and academic partners."[2]

A July 2012 article in SIGNAL Magazine, monthly publication of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, promoted DCGS-A as taking advantage of technological environments with which young soldiers are familiar. [3] The article quoted the DCGS-A program manager, Col. Charles Wells on the systems benefits. The article also included Lockheed Martin's DCGS-A program manager.[3]

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article May 4, 2012, about Wisconsin-located companies helping DCGS-A with cloud computing technology.[4] The article promoted the speed when cloud computing processes intelligence and cost savings by analyzing data in the field.[4]

The U.S. Army's 2011 Posture Statement[edit]

The U.S. Army released its 2011 Army Posture Statement March 2. It included a statement on DCGS-A:

“The Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) is the Army's premier intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) enterprise for the tasking of sensors, analysis and processing of data, exploitation of data, and dissemination of intelligence (TPED) across all echelons. It is the Army component of the larger Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E) and interoperable with other Service DCGS programs. Under the DI2E framework, USD (I) hopes to provide COCOM Joint Intelligence Operations Centers (JIOCs) capabilities interoperable with DCGS-A through a Cloud/widget approach.[5]

DCGS-A connects tactical, operational, and theater-level commanders to hundreds of intelligence and intelligence-related data sources at all classification levels and allows them to focus efforts of the entire ISR community on their information requirements.


Junior officers who have suffered from what they describe as DCGS-A's "unwieldy and unreliable, hard to learn and difficult to use" have praised the alternative software from Palantir Technologies, which has been pushed by Duncan D. Hunter, who represents their state in Congress.[6] Sources familiar with both systems have noted that DCGS-A ingests and shares data from hundreds of different sources and disseminates it to a broad array of using units. Palantir is a niche closed system that cannot accept data from many ISR systems or share data with other systems. It is highly functional in its core competency of small unit situational awareness, but not capable of serving as an alternative to DCGS-A[7]


  1. ^ UPI. "Army continues use of i2 software". UPI. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Kushiyama, Kristen. "Cloud computing to integrate with current Army system". U.S. Army. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Seffers, George I. "Making Battlefield Intelligence "iPad Easy"". SIGNAL Online. AFCEA. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Barrett, Rick (3 May 2012). "State companies helping Army with cloud computing". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Distributed Common Ground System - Army". What is it?. U.S. Army. 
  6. ^ "The Army's multibillion dollar 'money pit'."
  7. ^ "No spy software scandal here, Army claims. Wired Aug. 2012"

External links[edit]